The Mystery of Prayer

Those of us who have prayed over the years know that prayer is a mystery. Having read many books on the subject, done many Bible studies and spent literally hours praying, I should have a pretty good understanding of the subject. But the truth is, I don’t. I’ll share what I have learned and what I think I know about prayer.

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Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

What I have found is that prayer seems to be answered in three ways: Yes, No, or Wait. Let’s take the first, when prayer is answered with a “Yes.” I have seen God work in miraculous ways. I have seen Him heal the sick, raise those who were practically dead from their sickbed, provide jobs, spouses, cars, you name it. It is always a glorious thing when God answers in the affirmative and it feels great to have participated in prayer when I see those kind of answers. 

Next, there are those times when God doesn’t answer in the affirmative. The person does not get healed, those who are terminally ill die, a person doesn’t get the job, car or whatever was prayed for. In other words, there is a resounding “No” to the prayer. That doesn’t feel good and I often wonder why. I know God is on his throne and He doesn’t owe me any explanation but still I wonder. Some people may tell me I didn’t have enough faith, but I know that isn’t true. I had the same amount of faith when I prayed for other things that were answered in the affirmative. Others may tell me that there must be some sin in my life, or else God would have answered my prayer. I know that is not true either. Yes, God will not hear my prayers “if I regard iniquity in my heart,” but in general there is always some element of sin in my life. Every thought I think is not one hundred percent pure and loving and every word I say is not either. That’s the way it is, and no matter how hard I try that is the way it will always be until I go to be with the Lord. The truth is, in prayer, I can ask God for things, but I am in no position to “tell” God what to do. He is still in charge of the universe and sees the big picture. I am not in charge and I do not see the big picture and I must submit myself to this truth. I know I can trust Him and that He is still on His throne when the answer is “No.”

Third, there are those times when God seems to be silent and no answer is forthcoming. A lot of times, I have the sense that I have been put on hold and the answer will come about when the time is right. But when will the time be right? When will I get the job, the promotion or whatever I have been asking for? Of course the answer is up to God, but usually the answer has something to do with me and my character. Many times, God is waiting on me for my character to develop so that He can put me in a position of greater authority and responsibility. If He allows me into that position too soon, I may fail because of a lack of character development. These are the hardest prayers to wait for, but they are the most necessary. I need to wait patiently during those times and participate with God when He is working on my character. Over the years, I have learned that I do not want to be put in a position of responsibility that is greater than my ability to handle it. When the answer turns to a “Yes,” I am thankful that He made me wait until the time was right.

Prayer is a mystery and there is no way that I understand all there is to know about it. I will continue to trust God and to pray for things knowing that I will get an answer, even if it is not the answer I am hoping for.

What about you? What have you found out about prayer? How has your understanding of the subject changed over the years? Let me know so that we can collectively learn together. 

A Prayer For Peace

pexels-photo-346885.jpegHeavenly Father,

My heart cries out in desperation for our world.

Too many people desire to hurt each other for no other reason than the desire to.

Bring us to a place where we can love each other with a pure heart.

Help us to love each person because they are a human being and created in the image of God.

Let not our race, color, religion, or ethnicity be a dividing factor but may we see each person as a uniquely created individual worthy of our love.

Help us to stand against senseless violence and not support anyone who would divide others for their own gain.

Make us true instruments of your peace.

In Jesus holy name we ask. Amen

 

Written after the attack on Paris, December 7, 2015

Reprint permission of World Prayers. http://www.worldprayers.org.

Can A Prayer Make A Difference?

girl-praying-hands-eyelashes-41942.jpegHave you ever watched the news and had your heart touched by a humanitarian story? How do you feel when you see someone being pulled over by a policeman? I know we see problems every day that we are not directly a part of but feel a level of concern about them. Is there anything we can do that might possibly help the person in need?

What about prayer? Can a prayer make a difference in someone else’s life? Many times we discount the value of a single prayer, especially one that is thrown up on the run. I had a friend, Bernice, who used to call these prayers “arrow prayers.” She said we can shoot them up in a matter of seconds.

I serve an Omnipotent and loving God. He has a deep concern for humanity and longs to be involved in every person’s life. He wants to bring good things to people and help them in their time of need. He also likes us to ask Him to become involved. He has given us free will and with that gift comes the choice to ask Him to help ourselves and others.

I believe that every prayer we pray matters. It may be a quick short prayer for someone we pass by on the street but it is important. It is an invitation to get God involved and help that person. Every person is priceless to Him and He wants to show each one of us how much He cares.

I have listened to countless stories about people who have been in desperate situations and were prayed for by strangers. They recount how they felt the prayers of others and were upheld in their time of need. These stories come from people of all faiths including atheists who have been helped in difficult situations.

So as we go about our day, let’s shoot up arrow prayers for others. They just might make a big difference in someone else’s life!

What about you? Have you every been prayed for by strangers and know that it made a difference?